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UFC News: Gokhan Saki forced to withdraw from UFC 219

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Gokhan Saki vs Luis Henrique da Silva at UFC Fight Night: Saint Preux vs Okami
Robin Dhar

What’s the story?

UFC Light Heavyweight Gokhan Saki suffered an injury in training and was forced to withdraw from his fight against Khalil Rountree at UFC 219.

In case you didn’t know…

Gokhan Saki is a kickboxing legend and his return to MMA after a 13-year gap was met with much fanfare. His UFC debut came earlier this year at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan where he knocked out Luis Henrique da Silva in the very first round.

Many of his fans were excited to see his long-awaited first match on US soil against fellow light heavyweight Khalil Rountree - who was on a two-match win streak - at the year ending UFC 219.

The heart of the matter

After his win in Japan, Saki in his post-match interview said that he needed to make a lot of improvements to his game as conditioning for MMA fights was much different to what he was used to as a Kickboxer. He took to Instagram to explain what transpired and why he had to pull out of this bout.

Disappointed at having to withdraw from the event, Saki promised his fans that he will be back in 2018 while thanking and wishing his opponent the very best for the event.

As has been announced everywhere, i’m not fighting on the UFC 219 card. I wanted to announce this myself but i needed some time to recover mentally from this bad news. I got injured during a training and went to the hospital for this. My team and management took the decision with the medical team that i needed treatment and i have to think of my health first. I didn’t want to accept this but i’m glad i have the right people around me. It felt like i let my fans and supporters down, i was really looking forward to this fight. So the bad news was a bitter pil to swallow. But this is top sports and injuries are unfortunately a part of it. I’m recovering now and will be back in training soon. I want to thank my opponent Khalil for preparing for me and i wish him best of luck on December 30th. I want to thank all my fans/supporters for their great messages and i promise you 2018 i will give you KNOCK-OUTS! One knee, no knee, i will be there violently!!!! Sizlerin de bildi?i üzere, UFC 219’da dövü?meyece?im. Her ne kadar bu kötü haberi sizlerle payla?an ilk ki?i olmak isteseydim de mental olarak toparlanmaya ihtiyac?m vard?. Antrenman s?ras?nda geçirdi?im sakatl?k üzerine hastaneye gitmem gerekti. Ekibim, doktorlar?n tedavi olmam gerekti?i görü?ünü dikkate alarak bu karar? ald?. Kabul etmek zor olsa da sa?l???m? ilk planda tutmam gerekiyor. Bu dövü?ü büyük bir heyecanla bekliyordum ve dövü?emeyecek olmak bana sevenlerimi yar? yolda b?rakt???m? hissettirdi. Bunun üstesinden gelmek oldukça zordu. Ancak kabul etmek gerekiyor ki sakatl?k da üst düzey sporlar?n bir parças?. ?u anda tedavi sürecindeyim ve yak?n zamanda antrenmanlara ba?layaca??m. Rakibim Khalil’e bu maça haz?rland??? için te?ekkür ediyor ve kendisine 30 Aral?k’taki mücadelesinde ba?ar?lar diliyorum. Ve siz tüm sevenlerime, destekçilerime de?erli mesajlar?n?z için te?ekkür ediyorum. 2018’de hepinize KNOCK-OUT sözüm var! Gerekirse bir dizimle ya da dizim olmadan, her ?eyimle orada olaca??m!!! #ufc219 #ufc #kickboxing #boxing #mma #comeback #recovery #2018 #gokhansaki #fighter #fans #smile #power #knockouts #tur #turkiye #usa #lasvegas #la #hollywood #rotterdam #schiedam #fitdutchies #fit #healthy #türkiye

A post shared by Gokhan Saki (@gokhansaki) on

What’s next?

Khalil Rountree keeps his spot on the card and a replacement for Saki has been announced in the form of 22-year-old Polish newcomer, Michal Oleksiejczuk.

Author's take

The end of the year cards are generally meant to be blockbuster cards and while UFC 219 has some pretty interesting matchups, losing the Saki fight takes some sheen out of it especially after the targetted return of Conor McGregor failed to materialise.

For now, we'll just have to wait and see when 'The Rebel' makes his return to the octagon.


Edited by Nishant Jayaram

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